How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

If you take the risk factor test on the Irish Osteoporosis Society website and if the results say you are at risk of bone loss, please make an appointment with your GP to further discuss your bone health plan.

If you are at risk of bone loss, a DXA scan, which is similar to an X-ray, is the only test the Irish Osteoporosis Society, which is the national leading expert in Osteoporosis recommends. A DXA scan measures your bone density, which is the quality of your bone, and will show if you are at risk of breaking bones.

DXA scan:

The test is not claustrophobic; it is painless and takes about 20 minutes to complete. A scan is taken of your spine and hips. DXA scan results are explained in numbers called T-scores. Your doctor will be sent a copy of your DXA results, and it is essential to discuss what the results mean for you, as most breaks in bones are preventable.

We recommend DXA re-scanning a minimum of every two years, once a year if possible, so that your response to your osteoporosis treatment is monitored. This is very important in case your results are declining instead of improving.


Your doctor may tell you that you have osteopenia, which is the early stage of osteoporosis. The causes of your bone loss must be investigated and addressed, to prevent you from losing more bone and developing osteoporosis.
Your doctor will advise you on what you need to do.

We have developed a checklist of questions to ask your doctor to help you improve your bone health.

Many people believe that a DXA scan contains a significant amount to radiation, but this is not true. A DXA scan contains 10% radiation of a regular Chest X-ray and anyone who has flown to New York from Dublin would have been exposed to more radiation on the flight, then having a DXA scan done.